We are a people in the pursuit of making things with our hands & analog tools. Many of us enjoy it as a respite from our virtual worlds and digital displays. We shall share updates on our projects, craft resources, inspiration, & other news.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Knitted Chevron Baby Blanket Prep

I'm in the middle of a bunch of knitting projects right now but my friend is about to have a baby in two weeks so I'm putting aside my stuffed bear with one arm and half-finished stuffed carrot to make this crocheted knitted baby blanket.  (I must have been suffering a brain fart - I kept referring to this as a crocheted blanket but it's knitted!)

Since I'm still pretty much a beginner at this I wanted to make something with simple stitches so I could get it done in time.  I found this pattern for a Chevron Baby Blanket at purlbee and thought it would be pretty cute and soft.

I bought my yarn at fabulousyarn.com, which has a good selection and good prices.  If you buy a certain amount you can get a pretty significant discount, too.  I went with the suggested brand, Blue Sky Alpacas,  after checking reviews on Ravelry.com.   I'm pretty impressed with the variety of resources available online now!  If you don't have an account with Ravelry yet I recommend it.  It's a great way to find patterns and recommended yarns.  I also like to look at other people's finished products on the same pattern.

This is a snapshot of the yarns I'll be using to make my blanket.  I wound these all by hand, which was kind of a pain!  Some of them were more tangled than others to begin with so they took almost 30 minutes to wind up.

Someday I may invest in a swift and yarn winder.  Someday.  By until then, I'll keep winding by hand.  I followed the steps in this video, Winding a Center-Pull Ball.

I've now finished almost two colors swatches and here's the state of things now:

This was the first time I had to cast on more than 25 stitches, so figuring out how much yarn to leave was a major pain for me.  I first cast on 10 stitches, took them off, measured the length, multiplied by 10 and then started with that length.  When I got to the 100th stitch, I had a huge tail.  The instructions warned not to leave too long a tail because we'd need all the yarn to finish the swatch, so I measured the extra amount I had left, took it all apart, and tried it again with the original length -minus- the extra amount I had left.  Again, I was left with almost 30 inches.  Took it apart again.  AGAIN, 30 inches leftover.  This happened about 4 times and finally when I *still* had an extra long tail, I just decided, screw it, I'll just cast on more stitches and make the blanket wider.  To compensate I'm going to throw in another skein of yarn into the mix.

Good thing I'm not working on clothing, because this methodology won't work.  Figuring out the correct cast-on length is something I'll have to work on.

I also miscounted while knitting one row and had to take that all apart, which was not fun at 3 in the morning.  Maybe I shouldn't have been knitting at 3 in the morning.

Side Note: I was looking for an easy way to transfer photos from my iPhone to my computer without having to connect the two devices and so far I'm enjoying success with the Wi-Fi Photo Transfer app.  Any other suggestions out there for other fast, easy methods for transferring photos?

Stay tuned to see my progress on this project!

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Crochet Artists... or... CRAZY PEOPLE?

Look at this animated portrait of a face, by Jo Hamilton. By the way, that's not paint, it's CROCHETED YARN!


Some people have amazing patience. Or... OCD? I sometimes look at art and think that they're just people who have found a good channel for their OCD and then I'm happy for them. And thank goodness for them, because even I don't have the patience for that kind of crazy crafting.

I suppose Hamilton's work is a variation on what Twinkie Chan does with her adorable food-inspired scarves & accessories. She recently made these adorable mini popsicle pins, that she will sell on her Etsy shop... where she also has a BURGER SCARF now, oh mannnn. Want! She's also done the occasional crocheted painting, so she's done the whole entrepreneur/artist crossover thing, which I think is really inspiring.

I've also been a longtime-admirer of Agata Olek, who is known for her street art, in which she crochet-covers everything. I first noticed the bikes in New York, like this...


But she's moved on to grander things, like construction vehicles, whole apartment interiors, and... the Wall Street Bull sculpture. Here she was in action:


Fun fact: The Wall Street bull itself was an act of guerrilla art, left by an artist as a surprise to the city of New York, and is NOT actually owned by New York!

But apparently Olek's got some legal troubles in the UK!? Oh my. Well, if you want to support her, you can help her out at www.olekappeal.com.

Oh btw, the quilt is allllmost done. I completed the front, and made some binding! I am gonna finish it on Memorial Day! ...I hope. Well, I might be stitching the last of it on the plane.

You can blame Joann Fabrics for putting this tiki stuff on sale for 60% off that I had to go pick up as a break from quilting.

Shiny coconuts

The thing that pushed me over is when I saw Pin-up Queen and burlesque starlet, Bettina May, wear a bedazzled set of these, and I coveted it. --Ya know, for when I lunch on my balcony on a hot day.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Baby Quilt Sneak Peek

I've been chugging away at this quilt, which has had some odd cosmic coincidences with current events, but anyway here's a sneak peek.

Quilting is a good exercise in patience & planning something that requires many steps. When I've been sitting at my computer too long, it's nice to stretch my back, get some feeling back in my numbed butt, walk over to my handmade project and just complete another step.

Plus, it's a treat to finally put my stash of fun fabrics to use.

trimmed squares & sashes

This is my second quilt project ever, but my first attempt at appliqué. So I tried out a few different methods before I found one that I preferred. I learned a lot about dealing with different types of shapes and sizes. Maybe I'll blog about that later.

sneak peek of my project

Sometimes I found myself getting distracted with testing the funny stitches on my new sewing machine:

Scrap fabric

There's even one that draws a tiny bicycle! Or dog or car or rocket! (I figured out later that I should be using the thread-cutter & tack button, so I wouldn't have all those crazy thread ends flying all over the place.)

It's kind of nuts to me what a sewing machine can do, and that you can get one for a couple hundred bucks or less. (Though I know there are fancier ones that run for thousands!)

The other day, my friend Angie came over and noticed that it can stitch greek letters!? --which I frankly think is silly, but... if any fraternities or sororities wanna commission a personalized piece, I guess they can call me?

Uhh, anyway I better go finish this quilt so I can have it ready as a gift for my trip... in a few days!

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Oh, you seductive fabric, YOU

Usually what compels me to want to sew something is finding an enticing fabric. Like the other day, I found these on sale and couldn't leave Joann Fabrics without them:

So I started browsing dress patterns for ideas, and discovered that Vogue had re-issued vintage dress patterns from the 1940s & '50s, like these!

Ooh, re-issued vintage dress patterns

Oh man. Then I found maybe 10 dress patterns I wanted to try, but it's been ages since I've sewn apparel, so I settled on a simpler one that I could try. Eventually I got myself out of the store, and this was my haul from Joann Fabrics:

Craft Haul

But I also have a stash of fun fabrics left over, some from NY Elegant (a shop that was recommended to me by Fashion Designer, Diana Eng). That's where I had found the fabric that I used for my cute reversible apron and also this fabric that is out of this WORLD:


I mean, just look at those colors, rockets, buildings, and Barbarella-inspired pin-up girls! How could I resist?

So I have some plans for those, in addition to this quilt that I'm working on, that uses fabrics from my stash, Joann Fabrics, & Brooklyn's Fiber Notion (Park Slope).

(That orange gingham is leftover from my apron, and the yellow's leftover from my dessert quilt.) Now excuse me while I go iron & trim some of that fabric.

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Oops. I forgot about this blog. In the meantime, I've moved back to L.A., land of everyday sunshine. I'm still crafting (and designing toys) though, and I'm on Tumblr, Instagram (as "domojun"), Ravelry (as "supacrafty"), Pinterest, Facebook, and a regular player on "Words with Friends" so who knows how I will keep this up.

But I've also collected a crop of crafty friends, so let's see if we can resuscitate this baby with a new League of Supercrafters! (-Sorry. I started going to NY Comic Con & am going to my first San Diego Comic Con this year, so yes, the slippery slope into cosplay has started.)

I've also since accelerated my ADD/addiction among crafting projects. I like to keep 3-5 projects going at once if I can. Today, I'll highlight various projects I've done since my last blog update:

My first and only completed quilt - dessert themed squares:

Dessert quilt, left side

I hand-sewed the whole front of this thing. I KNOW. It was a reaction to my sitting in front of the computer all day at Yahoo! back when I used to work there (and back when it was cooler than Google, if anyone remembers that). I put it away while I went to Toy Design school and then triumphantly finished it after I graduated...

I don't plan on doing that level of hand-sewing again, because frankly, it seems masochistic to me now. But I do love this quilt, and I plan on making more and to try other methods... preferably also leaning more on a sewing machine than that hand-stitched madness.

I also have been a huge fan of Twinkie Chan's food-inspired scarves. Last year, she finally compiled her patterns into a book, which I had been WAITING FOR since I saw her stuff at that first Maker Faire. I used to be primarily be a knitter, but her book has turned me into a crochet nutcase! I started with this cupcake hat.

Crocheted Cupcake

...which I later gave away as a X'mas gift.

I also made these handwarmers for friends:

Cupcake Fingerless Mittens

Strawberry Mittens done!

and finally made this popcorn scarf for myself. I like to wear it to the movies.

Completed Popcorn Scarf!

I also dabble in amigurumi, a Japanese term for crocheted/knitted animals/toys. I customized a few, like this monkey with a cupcake, as a gift for artist, Jon Burgerman:

Adding a twist

I also knitted tiny ones from Anna Hrachovec's "Teeny Tiny Mochmochi" book as X'mas gifts:

Yee haw, 'lil' reindeer!

Sometimes I'll dabble in a plush project. I'm a huge fan of "Adventure Time," and they were slow on releasing merch for it, so I made this LSP for my cousin's little daughter:

Ah mah GLOB

And I made myself a Jake doll from felt:

Ta dah!

I was also commissioned to do a custom plush, for Katie Cook. I sewed this one based on her adorable webcomic, Gronk, after I met her at my first visit to New York Comic Con & fell in love with her mini-watercolors. Here she is at San Diego Comic Con after she was handed the plush by my courier-friend, Emotion Eric, who also took this photo.

Together at last!

Oh my gosh, I guess I made a lot of stuff last year. You'll just have to browse my Flickr album.

As for 2012, I moved to L.A., and then knocked out two more scarves from Twinkie Chan's crochet book. First, I did the Buttered Toast scarf, which I felt would be easier to wear since it's mostly a neutral color tone.

Toasty Scarf!

Then I completed this Rocket Popsicle scarf, which was pretty easy, because it's mostly just repeated rows and swapping colors. At some point, I'd like to try a knitted version of this, because the ridges seem perfect for a ribbed knit, and also I found some sparkly soft yarn in the same color scheme.

Scarf #2 of the year completed

Also I made this "Robo-Egg" as a get-well gift,  for my friend & artist, Josh Ellingson based on his drawing. (He's doing fine now.)


And recently, I finally treated myself to a new Singer machine. I tested it out with a quick reversible apron project, using this free online pattern.

I chose apples with orange gingham on one side,

Finished apron!

and Cowboys, Cowgirls, & ponies on the other!

Reversible apron

I definitely favor this cowboy theme side. I loved this project; it was easy and quick. Next time I'd leave out the D-rings; I don't think they work so well, but I bet a tie or just a sewn fixed length neck loop would be better. Anyway, I'd like to make more as a gifts! If you know me, don't be afraid to drop a big hint if you'd like one. Just know that it will fall into my long queue of craft projects and may take awhile.

Next time, I'll share the various projects I'm juggling at the moment, which include more crocheting, more knitting, a quilt, and.... a dress! -which I haven't attempted since my Powerpuff Girl costumes back in 1999 or so. Eek.

Okay, now your turn! Share what you're working on!

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